Declan Rice 'has become Man United's number one transfer target'
Declan Rice ‘has become Man United’s No 1 transfer target’ in the summer… with Erik ten Hag’s side set to rival Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool for the £100m-rated West Ham star
- West Ham are gearing up to sell the highly-rated midfielder in summer window
- United hope the player’s ties to Rashford and Shaw help convince Rice of move
- West Ham 1-0 Man United: De Gea’s HOWLER gifts David Moyes’ side the win
Manchester United are set to join Premier League rivals Arsenal in the race to sign Declan Rice this summer, according to reports.
West Ham’s star midfielder has long been eyed by the club’s top-flight competition, with Chelsea and Liverpool also said to be keen on securing Rice’s services.
The 24-year-old’s contract is set to expire in 2024 and although West Ham can trigger a one-year extension on their deal, the club are beginning to come to terms with the imminent loss of their captain.
West Ham acknowledge Rice’s desire compete for trophies and play in the Champions League, and the depature of the highly-rated player could bring in a windfall of close to £100million for the east London club.
But although Arsenal have been the frontrunners to sign the England international, as per the Mirror, United could swoop for the player after shooting up in manager Erik ten Hag’s esteem.
Declan Rice has shot to the top of Manchester United’s summer wish-list, as per reports
Although it came at United’s expense, Erik ten Hag was impressed with Rice’s performance
The midfielder put in a command performance against Ten Hag’s team on Sunday which saw the Hammers claim all three points at the London Stadium in a tense 1-0 victory.
The loss on the road could have long-term consequences for the Red Devils’ Champions League chances as the result left United within one point of Jurgen Klopp’s ascendant Liverpool side.
A source close to the United camp said that Rice’s role in handing United the loss had sharpened Ten Hag’s interest.
‘Rice is fast emerging as United’s number one summer target,’ they shared.
‘He completely ran the game and United’s coaching staff and scouts were all talking about him after the match.
‘There’s a growing belief that Rice is interested in leaving at the end of the season and United believe they simply have to ensure he heads north and not to Arsenal or Chelsea.
‘The club regard him as a player they could potentially build a team around.’
United’s hopes could be fueled by Rice’s closeness to a number of their first team starters – England team-mates Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford – and there is a belief that Old Trafford that the friends might be able to convince their compatriot to make the move north.
Rice was seen talking to Rashford after the final whistle, and was set to hand his international team-mate his shirt before giving it to a tearful young fan.
As United contemplates life under new ownership, further to bids for the club from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, Rice could fit the bill as a marquee signing to usher in United’s new era.
United is hopeful that Rice’s England ties to players like Marcus Rashford (left) fuel move north
‘[Buying Rice] would be a massive sign of intent and a great way for any new owners to show they are determined to try and match Manchester City in the years ahead,’ the source added.
Final bids for the club were tabled on April 28, with both Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim intent on a full takeover should their offers be accepted.
Before Rice leaves, however, he will have the opportunity to lift West Ham’s first European trophy since 1965.
On Thursday, the Hammers will play the first leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final against AZ Alkmaar after beating Gent 5-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals.
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